The FDA is the trade union for managers and professionals in public service. It includes the most senior civil servants and specialists such as lawyers and statisticians.
Delegates at tomorrow’s annual conference will be considering a motion that would put “boundaries” on gender-critical speech and adopt the position that “We do not accept trans-exclusionary language or behaviour at work.”
The motion does not state what particular words the top civil servants union would consider out of bounds – but statements that women are female and that single-sex service should be single-sex have been called “transphobic” by trans activists. Stonewall considers it “trans-exclusionary” not to allow staff who identify as transgender to use opposite-sex facilities.
Senior civil servants at the Government Legal Department, Office for National Statistics, Ministry of Justice, Department of Health and Social Care, Department for Education, Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and Government Equalities Office, among others, are key decision-makers and need to discuss and debate how sex and gender reassignment interact.
Civil servants are increasingly concerned about how demands to promote gender ideology conflict with their commitment to integrity in public life. They need a union that will speak up for everyone’s rights and support them if they get accused of transphobia for talking about the material reality of sex.
Instead the FDA seems to be stepping in to support those who say that ordinary legal and scientific definitions make them feel unsafe and cause harm.
The motion proposed by the union’s National Executive Committee recognises that there are debates about the law but states that if the union does not make a “trans inclusion” position explicit this will lead to “lack of safety for trans colleagues and clients, and a lack of clarity around boundaries for colleagues with gender critical views“.
The motion says that while the FDA are proud to have always “encouraged respectful dialogue on issues of equity, diversity and inclusion” it is important “to be mindful about discussions that affect some people more directly, and more personally, than other people. This means that we respect everyone’s right to hold personal opinions but also must consider the impact of our words and actions on other people, regardless of what our intention may be.”